22nd July 2001
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  • More in store for 'mOre Mobitel' users
  • Eureka makes life easier for customers
  • Peradeniya campus launches IT competition
  • A framework for a new political order in Sri Lanka
  • 4 students for IT Olympics
  • Trans Asia's new administrators propose changes, renovation
  • Paint producers promote fair trading
  • BOI promotes JVs through Indo-SL FTA
  • High accolades for Grant McCann-Erickson directors
  • Aviation Training Centre in Dubai
  • Training for Ceylinco Life personnel
  • CNT to market Oce printing solutions in the region
  • Bates brings in 141 to offer IMC
  • Four more MDRT qualifiers from Ceylinco Life
  • Japan's NTT gives schols to three SLT employees
  • HNB trains law undergraduates
  • Ceybank Fund outperforms stockmarket index
  • Japanese subsidiary to develop software in Sri Lanka
  • Entrepreneur of the year 2000
  • Training for Lankan officials in Korea
  • WW Group sets up operations in SL
  • Seminar simplifies marketing laws
  • Hayleys Electronics: Turnover growth despite difficulties 
  • SriLankan launches fourth weekly flight to Kuala Lumpur
  • New corporate card from COMBANK 
  • Stretchline Elastics expand its global horizons
  • 'Ways to be Successful in Trade'
  • AsiaSoft obtains ISO 9001
  • Split-level apartments 
  • '' on TNL TV
  • Training for Ceylinco Life personnel
  • Bu$ine$$ Mailbag

  • More in store for 'mOre Mobitel' users

    Mobitel, in achieving their goal of total customer care, aims to give more convenience to 'mOre Mobitel' customers with pre-paid cards being made available at all Food City outlets.

    The tie-up between Food City and Mobitel is a step forward taken by Mobitel, making 'mOre Mobitel' cards available islandwide, the company said.

    Mobitel now has one of the strongest distribution networks in the country, having initially tied up with East West Marketing, the leader in the distribution of FMCG products. 'mOre Mobitel' cards will now be available at over 3,000 outlets across the country, making it the most accessible service in the country, it added.

    The 'mOre Mobitel' card, which was launched in January 2001, has proved to be extremely popular among their target customers within a short period of time. The cards, which feature three famous Sri Lankan cricketers, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardena, are available in five denominations.

    Eureka makes life easier for customers

    Eureka Online (Pvt) Ltd is the first ever Internet Service Provider in the country to facilitate and accept payment for services via a secure payment site operated by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, the company said in a statement.

    "The system," according to a company spokesman, "will eliminate the need to visit Eureka offices for the purpose of making payment or the necessity of writing and posting cheques."

    Utilising the most sophisticated, secure layers, the settlement will be authorised using the secure socket layer (SSL) 128-bit encryption method that ensures the total security of financial transactions.

    In order to benefit by this service, users need to just click on and enter their login name, login password, e-mail address and submit which will then connect to the HSBC SSL server and follow instructions. An online receipt of payment will then appear on screen once the transaction is complete. The new service will help those with Visa or Mastercards and HSBC clients. The spokesman said the bulk of Eureka clients have a credit card or is a HSBC client.

    Peradeniya campus launches IT competition

    The computer society of the University of Peradeniya (CSUP) has launched a national IT competition to recognise excellence in web development and articles on this topic.

    The web development award has been titled "Young Spider 2001" and is open to smart developers on any theme and any software. A spokesman for CSUP said entries could be web developments covering social causes, corporate or personal home pages, issues such as tourism, culture, environment, technology, education, etc. In addition to individuals, entries are also encouraged from companies and institutions. Entries must be submitted on floppy diskettes or CD ROM's. The panel would evaluate the impact of the development on the specified target audience, objectives etc.

    The best article/essay competition is titled "Young editor 2001" and entries can be any article/essay written on IT or related issues. Examples include impact of IT, e-commerce, World Wide Web, globalisation, digital future, next generation of computer science, computer applications, scientific short stories and even news or feature reports. Such articles/essays should have a minimum of 4,000 words. Applications should be accompanied by a title, brief introduction, discussion on the topic in point form, explanations on each topic in separate paragraphs and a conclusion.

    The closing date for entries for both categories is July 30. Entries should be addressed to the Computer Society, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, Kandy.

    A framework for a new political order in Sri Lanka

    Point of view
    Ajith Colonne is a socio-economist attached to local think-tank, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) as its director of administration and corporate affairs.

    He has served in various capacities before as a lecturer at the Peradeniya university, a stockmarket investment advisor, a consultant to the National Savings Bank and to the Mercantile Bank, visiting lecturer in economics at the Kotalawela Defence Academy and a deputy director of the Defence Ministry's National Intelligence Bureau (NIB).

    Mr. Colonne takes a look at Sri Lanka's political crisis and offers some solutions to the present impasse, which should be food for thought for the country's leadership and hopefully generate some discussion.

    We all are aware of the government's desperate efforts to introduce a new Constitution to reintroduce the old electorate-based election system. The main arguments presented by the government to justify these efforts are; (a) inability to form a strong government with the existing system, (b) the possibility of an electorate not being represented by a member desired by the people and, (c) the colossal waste of efforts and resources incurred by individual candidates in canvassing throughout a district.

    The above arguments are factually correct in view of any election, which had been held under the present Proportional Representation (PR) system. There are numerous instances where candidates have managed to get elected to parliament based on the number of votes they solicited from the district, despite losing their respective electorates. On the other hand, it is possible that a candidate who organises his electorate well and makes his party win will not be able to make it to parliament, owing to lack of sufficient number of votes at district level. On the contrary, the PR system brings about a lot of social justice, as the final composition of representation is somewhat consistent with the percentages secured by each political party at the national level. In other words, it will not facilitate any unwarranted mandate to any political party, which could be grossly misused.

    In view of the above facts and circumstances, it is essential to introduce a new election process, which addresses the shortcomings of the present PR system, while retaining its most significant feature of Balance of Power. Under the new framework proposed below for a new election process, both these areas of concerns are duly addressed, in the most equitable manner.

    Suppose we have two major parties A & B, an emerging third force C, minority parties D & E and a group comprising all other small parties and independent groups F in our political system. Also, assume that there are 150 electorates and 300 seats in the Parliament, of which 150 seats need to be filled with members elected by the people at electoral level and the balance 150 seats need to be filled with members appointed by the parties from their respective national lists. Under the proposed new framework, the preliminary selection should take place at the electoral level first. Let us assume the outcome of such a general election to be as follows:

    The underlying fundamentals of the proposed new framework is that the final composition of representation is consistent with the percentage of valid votes secured by each party at the national level. 

    For example, A is entitled to 165 seats, as they have got 55% of the valid votes (300 x 55% = 165). They have already got 120 out of that entitlement at the General Election. Therefore, A should be allocated with 45 more from the national list, in order to make the final number 165. Similarly, B should get 85 seats, C should get 15 seats, D should get none, E should get 2 and F should get 3, from the national list. Then the final composition would appear as follows:

    Also, it is noteworthy to mention that a minimum allocation must be defined out of the national list for the party, which wins the highest number of seats at electoral level, in the event of an overwhelming victory that the total entitlement is exhausted prior to allocation from the national list. Upon providing for the winning party, the remaining stake from the national list must be allocated on a pro-rata basis among all other eligible parties.

    There are numerous advantages arising from this new framework, to all political parties.

    * Each party can nominate the most suitable candidate to match the opponents from all perspectives for every electorate.

    * The rivalry among the members from the same party within the district can be completely eliminated.

    * The proposed framework offers an incentive to all political parties to put in their best efforts to get as much votes at electoral level, in order to get a higher stake at the national level.

    * The organisers can be held more accountable for their activities and action at electoral level.

    * It will conserve both human and financial resources.

    If all the political parties work on this framework to introduce a new election process, it will bring about a social order of a higher degree, which is most lacking in the eve of any election. Most importantly, this new framework will create a more cohesive political environment in the country for the benefit of the entire nation.

    4 students for IT Olympics

    The Council for Information Technology (CINTEC) picked and trained the Sri Lanka national team, made up of four competitors all school children below 20 years, now participating in the International Olympiad in Information (IOI) 2001 in Finland.

    The IOI is an annual software competition at which more than 300 competitors from around 70 countries participate in several rounds of competitions in computing environments with latest technologies. CINTEC has been selecting and training the Sri Lankan national team for IOI competitions since 1992.

    The Sri Lankan team comprises Nayan Pubudu Somaratna,(Royal College), Harshana Gihan Dantanarayana,(Ananda College), Pramila Ariyaratne,(D.S. Senanayake College) and B.S. Karunaratne,(D.S. Senanayake College) with Chameera Chandrakumara (Maliyadeva College) as the reserve. The team leader is Dr. Gihan Wickramanayake (University of Colombo) and the deputy team leader is Sifaan Zavahir (University of Moratuwa).

    Trans Asia's new administrators propose changes, renovation

    General Hotel Management Ltd (GHM), which recently took over the management of the Trans Asia Hotel, will oversee the renovation of the hotel, a hotel statement said.

    The renovation will see the creation of the Chedi Club, a new executive floor concept. An exclusive members club, "The Club" and a new spa centre will also emerge while redecoration of the lobby is also on the cards.

    GHM currently manages deluxe life style hotels including The Datai in Malaysia, The Legian in Bali, The Strand in Myanmar, The Chedi Ubud in Bali and the Chedi Phuket in Thailand. The design of its hotels is influenced by their locality and culture.

    GHM was established in 1992 by a group of experienced hoteliers. Its present board of directors include, Chairman, Adrian Zecha, one of the founding partners of Regent International Hotels Ltd, while the others include Kendall Oei, Hans Jenni and Ralf Ohletz.

    Paint producers promote fair trading

    The Paint Manufacturers' Association of Sri Lanka (PMAS) has completed its first year of operation, succeeding in bringing together some of the leading paint manufacturers in the industry while at the same time promoting social responsibility by the trade.

    The PMAS' mission is to continually help to develop the industry by solving some potential problems and creating mutual understanding in the industry, newly elected President of the PMAS, Siri C. Fernando, told a press conference last week.

    He said after the formation of the PMAS there has been sustainable development in the industry as a whole during the previous year. PMAS is at present a member of the Asian Paint Industrialists' Council (APIC), which is open to national paint associations in the Asian region.

    At present ten countries have subscribed to the APIC and there are plans to form a sub-section from SAARC members, Mr. Fernando said.

    He said that under the PMAS' Coating Care Programme, which is aimed at the association's social responsibility project, seminars and workshops have been organised to promote good trading practices and ensure a cleaner environment.

    Convener of the PMAS, Lal de Mel, told reporters that the association is an important forum to solve the problems and issues facing paint manufacturers.

    Mr. de Mel, a past president of the PMAS, said this type of association has helped paint industrialists to meet and discuss improvements in the trade.

    BOI promotes JVs through Indo-SL FTA

    The Board of Investment (BOI) says one of Sri Lanka's best chances of attracting foreign investment is through the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

    "India is a fairly protected market with comparatively high duty rates and promoting joint ventures under the Indo-Lanka FTA which offers substantial duty concessions, is Sri Lanka's best chance of attracting investment," said BOI Director, Research, Nihal Samarappuli, at a seminar organised by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) to review the progress of the agreement after a year of operation.

    The FTA offers reductions on basic customs duties for a large number of tradable items. There are, however, other duties levied, such as the countervailing duty and the special additional duty, for which the FTA gives no concessions. Yet the existing FTA concessions, which are either 50 percent less or zero duty, effectively reduces the aggregate value of Indian import duties by 21 percent and 42 percent, respectively for a product with a basic duty of 35 percent under normal trade.

    Dr. Samarappuli said that identifying the products that are exported to India and the countries and companies that are associated in the manufacture of such products, would help in the promotion of joint ventures under the agreement.

    India imports goods worth US $ 45 billion, 83 percent of which comprise items that could be categorized as large-scale imports that enjoy duty concessions under the FTA. Of these, 53 percent are duty-free and the balance at a 50 percent duty reduction.

    He said that South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, UK, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the USA, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel and South Africa are the 20 countries which are currently the biggest exporters to India.

    The US accounts for 9 percent of India's total imports with a value of US$3.2 billion.

    Under the FTA, over 4,000 products are entitled to duty reductions. This covers 93 percent of India's imports, Dr. Samarappuli said adding that Sri Lanka's own exports to India had grown by 33 percent last year.

    The value of exports to India during the period April to December 2000, through exploiting the custom duty benefits of the agreement, is valued at Rs. 640 million and this comprised 14 percent of Sri Lanka's total exports to India. This included tea, noodles, meat products (sausages), chocolates, ayurvedic products, computer memory chips, plastic products, mattresses, footwear, ice cream machines, ceramic products and furniture.

    Dr. Samarappuli said the number of investments initiated so far under the FTA was 28 and was valued at US$ 80 million. This included the manufacture of enamel wire, MDF boards, gaskets, water-tanks, plasticisers, metal ingots, poultry food and stainless steel hot water showers.

    High accolades for Grant McCann-Erickson directors

    Neela Marikkar, Managing Director, Grant McCann-Erickson and Laila Gunesekere, Executive Creative Director, Grant McCann-Erickson have been awarded one of the highest accolades given to an individual within the McCann-Erickson Worldwide Group.

    Ms. Neela Marikkar won the "HK McCann Award" in recognition of her tireless and continuous efforts in leading Grant McCann-Erickson to become the best in the advertising field. Grant McCann-Erickson has earned an enviable reputation of being a leader for Sri Lanka's advertising industry under her leadership, and this award is cherished as a symbol of this reputation.

    Laila Gunesekere has been adjudged the winner of the "HK McCann Award 2000" for her commitment and contribution towards the agency's creative growth.

    Named after Mr. Harrison King McCann, the founder of the Agency, the "HK McCann Award" was inaugurated by the McCann management in 1963 to acknowledge exceptional individuals who were judged to have served the company beyond the call of duty. This was altered in 1987 to add "leadership" as part of the criteria. Leadership criteria elements include leading the agency in new business and profit performance, leading an exceptionally successful creative team as a department head to leading a client into innovative ventures.

    The creative and strategic growth of the agency in the past two years has been evident through the recognition that Grant McCann-Erickson has received in the industry. At the SLIM awards 2001, Grant McCann-Erickson demonstrated its creative excellence by bagging 21 awards, including the two most coveted awards: "Breakthrough Brand of the Year" for Walls Kithul Cup and "Campaign of the Year" for SriLankan Airlines.

    Aviation Training Centre in Dubai

    Emirates, the international airline of the UAE and CAE of Canada, have signed an agreement to build and jointly operate the new Emirates Aviation Training Centre in Dubai.

    The airline said that the centre will be located adjacent to the existing Emirates training facility and will house six Full Flight Simulators (FaFS), including a Boeing 737-NG, an Airbus A319/A320 and A330/340. The initial investment under the ten-year agreement is approximately Dhs365 million (US$100 million), with equal participation by Emirates and CAE.

    The new centre is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2003. Beginning in early 2002, interim training will be provided to anchor customers at a transitional facility in Dubai.

    Emirates operates a modern fleet of 36 aircraft with flights to 58 destinations in 40 countries throughout the Middle East, Europe, Africa, West Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Pacific Rim and Australia.

    Training for Ceylinco Life personnel

    Three insurance training experts from the Philippines were in Sri Lanka recently to conduct a series of performance enhancement and agency building workshops for sales personnel of Ceylinco Life.

    The trainers Nick and Mercy Baron of the Baron Life Agency Inc. and Patrick Khoo, a Senior Agency Manager of Prudential Assurance Company, conducted training sessions for 30 managers, business development managers and regional sales managers, a Ceylinco Insurance statement said. The sessions focused on agency building to provide expertise to the sales force on how to make a career out of insurance sales as well as on how to ensure a policy remains active without allowing it to lapse.

    Mr. Thusara Ranasinghe, Director Ceylinco Life said that their aim was to promote life insurance salesmanship as a career, not only as a job. 

    CNT to market Oce printing solutions in the region

    Ceylinco Networking Technologies Ltd (CNT) announced its appointment as a distributor of the Oce range of printing, copying and digital production systems at a media briefing held recently.

    According to the agreement CNT would distribute Oce solutions in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Mauritius, Bangladesh and Nepal.

    Oce Technologies B.V. from the Netherlands offers a range of systems for office, technical, banking/finance, utility companies and imaging suppliers.

    Oce solutions include productive high-volume copying both in monochrome and colour with printing speeds in excess of 800 prints per minute, networked digital printing/copying, wide format copying and printing, colour printing and imaging supplies.

    Mr. Ron Noordam, Regional Export Manager for Oce Technologies said that it would take at least a year before CNT starts marketing the full range as the staff needs to be trained in supporting the Oce products.

    Mr. Keith Samuel, Chief Operating Officer at CNT said that in Sri Lanka they would target medium and large organisations, utility companies and organisations involved in engineering applications. 

    CNT plans to offer high speed networked centrally located copy, print and scanning solutions within these organisations. For engineering applications CNT hopes to market its range of solutions that can digitise, store and print wide format maps.

    CNT is the biggest representative for Microsoft products in Sri Lanka. The company also represents Trend Micro USA, Internet Security Systems Japan and Equisys UK in the SAARC region and many other international application software companies.

    Bates brings in 141 to offer IMC

    A culmination of significant work in communications

    Bates Strategic Alliance, which has been spearheading Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in Sri Lanka, got a full dose of endorsements this week for the launch of its third international agency, 141 Integrated Communications.

    The CIM's Second Annual Conference, which focused on communications for brand building, devoted half of its agenda to introduce new thinking on IMC to Sri Lanka's marketing elite, Bates said in a statement.

    Bates/141 participated in a significant way with 141 Europe's CEO, Marcus Starke, as a key speaker, joined by Bates CEO, Nimal Gunewardena, who was invited by CIM to do a review of the IMC session and outline its application in the Sri Lanka market, while 141 was selected by CIM to be the Official IMC Agency and do the campaign for the Conference. 

    Bates Strategic Alliance, which began in 1993, sought to move beyond pure advertising services and soon introduced PR in a big way with the launch of its Saatchi and Saatchi held multinational PR outfit, Rowland PR. The launch of 141, an associate company of Bates Worldwide, is a culmination of significant work the local agency has done in various areas of marketing communications.

    In the sports marketing field, it was recently selected by the Ministry of Tourism & Sports to handle the sponsorship and event marketing for the Asian Athletic Championships. In addition, it is handling the marketing for the Asian Netball Championships here this month.

    Attending the 141 launch were clients, the business media and senior management from the Bates/141 international network. 

    Four more MDRT qualifiers from Ceylinco Life

    Four sales personnel of Ceylinco Life have qualified to sit at the world's most prestigious forum of life insurance sales professionals - the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) - this year, the company announced.

    This is the seventh consecutive year that Ceylinco Life personnel have qualified to the MDRT. 

    Among the four qualifiers for 2001 is Mr. A. Manivannan, who has qualified for the forum twice. 

    The other participants to this year's MDRT conference in Toronto, Canada are Mr. H. P. S. Weerasinghe, Mr. E. N. Mahesan and Mr. S. K. Murugesu.

    A special request has been made by the officials of the MDRT for a Ceylinco Life representative to carry the National Flag at the forum this year as well, since Ceylinco Insurance was the first Sri Lankan life insurance company to participate at this prestigious event, Mr. Thushara Ranasinghe - Director for Ceylinco Life said.

    "As Ceylinco Insurance Company Ltd was the first to attend this seminar as well as be represented at the event for the past seven years as the leading private insurer in Sri Lanka, MDRT has invited Mr. R. Renganathan, Director/General Manager of Ceylinco Life to be a special guest at the Million Dollar Round Table forum this year," he said.

    Japan's NTT gives schols to three SLT employees

    Japan's NTT group has granted three scholarships amounting to three million rupees to three employees of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), one to pursue a Bachelor of IT degree programme and other two for a Masters degree programme on IP telephony at the CyberJaya Campus of the University of Malaysia, an SLT statement said.

    Recipients of these awards include Mr. Nimal Maddumage, an experienced switching engineer attached to Sri Lanka Telecom who left for Malaysia on July 10. He will pursue his studies for a Master of Engineering Science degree on Internet Telephony.

    Mr. Balachandran Ramesh, currently following a 3-year bachelor degree programme at CyberJaya, is the first beneficiary of this programme.

    These scholarships are part of a goodwill gesture by NTT to demonstrate their commitment to the continuous support in developing the IT skill levels and expertise in Sri Lanka.

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